Tevez – The Wanderer Returns
By Prestwich_Blue, Wed 15 February 2012 14:28
In an amazing turn-around it looks like he will be returning to the club, contrary to all expectations. I believe the club has had a clear plan for dealing with Tevez and can only presume that this involves getting him playing again in order to increase his transfer value. Clearly a Tevez who is fit and banging goals in, plus one who we don't appear to be under pressure to sell, is far more valuable than the hot potato he has been. I fully support the club in their efforts and they've played a blinder so far. The (club inspired) revelation that he's not being paid and has forfeited significant bonuses were clearly designed to send a message to him, his advisers and other clubs seeking to exploit the situation that our resolve was firm and we would not be giving him away for less than we feel he's worth. It was also a firm statement that he was still a Manchester City employee and he would do what we wanted not what he wanted.
We don't know what problems lay behind Tevez's actions. That's not to try to excuse his behaviour but no amount of money or success can make people immune from personal problems, as the sad death of Whitney Houston proved only too starkly. Was it his advisers trying to play him off against the club or did he genuinely have depression? Having spent much of the last few years working away from home, I know much the inability to be there for birthdays, parents' evenings and various crises can impact you. People have various reactions to being out of a familiar environment; some love it, some tolerate it and some absolutely hate it. Maybe Tevez didn't help himself much but I know plenty of people who choose to live in Spain, only mix with fellow expatriates and never learn a word of the language.
Tevez at his best combines talent AND total commitment – the perfect City player. Yet he refused to come on when we needed him. No wonder we're divided on what our reaction should be. There's no doubt that the crime of disrespecting the shirt is a capital one in football fans' eyes. "We dream of playing in the shirt. Today, God chose you. Play like we dream" proclaims the banner hanging from the North Stand. "You're not fit to wear the shirt" is just about the worst insult a fan can hurl at a player. We'd rather have a Paul Dickov, who's a bit shit but who'll run till he drops, than a talented dilettante with no apparent commitment.
I've actually seen him interact with fans at close quarters, when I was one of a number invited to the team hotel in London just over twelve months ago, the night before the Arsenal game. It was interesting to see how each player dealt with this (and it was a private setting in front of an invited audience). Balotelli clearly couldn't deal with it at all and walked past us with his face covered by his hood. Kompany was surprisingly aloof. Given and Lescott were polite without really being effusive. Boyata looked scared to death. But three players clearly loved the attention and couldn't respond warmly enough. Richards & SWP were two of those players. They had grown up at the club and are clearly outgoing personalities, who loved the interaction, joined in the joking and posed for pictures whenever asked. The other was Tevez who, despite his lack of English, gave plenty of himself to the fans, hugging them and posing for numerous pictures. You couldn't ask for more from a player; commitment to the club and its fans on the field and off it.
It still begs the question of how any return would be greeted by the fans. Some have said they'll boo him while some have said they'll offer no reaction, positive or negative. Others have said that they'll support him if it means winning the title. We've certainly been lacking a sharp edge up front, with neither Aguero nor Dzeko really firing on all cylinders lately. His ability to drag defenders all over the field and create something from nothing could be just what we need in the run-in. But he could equally be another Rodney Marsh, who broke up a successful side's rhythm when introduced at a critical time in 1972.
I suspect I'd be prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt if he puts the sort of effort in we've been used to seeing from him in the past and gets those crucial goals we'll need at places like Stoke, Swansea & Norwich. Even if he's still desperate to leave then at least we'd get a better price for him so he'd have served his purpose in more ways than one. It seems incredible we're saying this about a guy we idolised 12 months ago and who we believed would sweat blood in a blue shirt. Why does it always have to be so bloody difficult to be a City fan?